Fitbit is launching a new stress-tracking tool for almost all of its existing fitness trackers and smartwatches, which will let you see how your body is coping with the pressures of your everyday life.
The new feature works by analyzing your sleep, activity levels and heart rate, so it will only be available on devices with an optical heart rate sensor. That's almost the entire line-up, but owners of the original Fitbit Inspire will miss out.
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Stress tracking won't be available for kids' devices like the recently launched Fitbit Ace 3, either. The expected resting heart rate for a child changes as they grow, so watches in the Ace range don't have a sensor (which has the added bonus of keeping their price down).
Keep your cool
If you have a Fitbit Premium subscription, you'll be able to check out a detailed breakdown of your stress patterns over time, based on this data.
Premium users also have access to various mindfulness sessions, including the recently introduced set of meditation sessions led by Deepak Chopra, which are regularly updated with new content.
It's worth noting that this type of stress tracking is different to that used by the Fitbit Sense, which launched last year. The Sense monitors stress levels using by using a multi-path electrical sensor to monitor EDA (electrodermal activity) responses when you place your palm over the device. Sweat caused by an adrenal response makes your skin more conductive, which results in more EDA responses.
It's not perfect (EDA responses are affected by physical as well as mental stress) but can be a useful indication of your mental state.
You can then use the Fitbit app to see how these responses change according to factors like sleep and activity, and log any events during the day that may have affected your stress levels (like meetings at work, for example). This knowledge can help you become more aware of events that are stressful for you, and manage them better with mindfulness techniques.
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